C a l i f o r n i a D e p a r t m e n t o f F o o d a n d A g r i c u l t u r e.

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California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs Nancy Lungren, Deputy Secretary

1220 N St. Ste. 214 Sacramento, Ca 95814 916-654-0462

UPDATE: LIGHT BROWN APPLE MOTH ERADICATION PROGRAM FOR 2008 Aerial pheromone treatments planned to begin in late spring or early summer

SACRAMENTO, January 22, 2008 The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) continue to develop their plans for the 2008 Light Brown Apple Moth eradication program in nine Central California counties along the coast and in the Bay Area.

In planning the eradication program, CDFA and USDA are working with a team of international Light Brown Apple Moth experts that believes the pest can be eradicated through the primary use of aerial pheromone treatments along with other techniques. A pheromone is a natural scent that an insect produces to communicate with a potential mate. Pheromone use for this pest works by confusing the male moth, which disrupts the mating cycle, thereby decreasing or eradicating the pest population. Pheromones are not harmful to people, pets or plants.

Specific plans for communities within the nine-county region are still under consideration and are dependent on variables including moth detections and funding as the program moves forward.

The CDFA/USDA approach continues a long-standing policy of using the most environmentally sensitive yet effective tools in eradication programs. All of the techniques being considered are alternatives to widespread spraying of conventional pesticides.

Aerial pheromone treatments are planned to begin in late spring or early summer. The USDA is currently field testing a number of new aerial pheromone products in New Zealand, with the goal of finding a pheromone product that lasts longer in the environment than 30 days, therefore requiring fewer aerial treatments. Both the USDA and CDFA feel this is important in light of community concerns about the frequency of treatments. The products used in aerial treatments last year, Checkmate OLR-F and Checkmate LBAM-F, were designed to last 30 days in the environment.

News Release

Find out more about California agriculture! www.cdfa.ca.gov


Find out more about California agriculture! www.cdfa.ca.gov


Steve Lyle Jay Van Rein CDFA

916/654-0462 Larry Hawkins USDA

916-930-5509 C a l i f o r n i a D e p a r t m e n t o f F o o d a n d A g r i c u l t u r e

Email: cdfapublicaffairs@cdfa.ca.gov


z Page 2 January 22, 2008

California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs Nancy Lungren, Deputy Secretary

1220 N St. Ste. 214 Sacramento, Ca 95814 916-654-0462

While research in New Zealand continues, it is critical that ground treatments resume soon. Pheromone treatments with twist ties will likely begin in February, on a date yet to be determined. Twist ties are applied by ground crews to host plants, trees and fence posts in isolated, lightly infested areas within the nine-county region. This approach creates mating disruption by dispersing moth pheromone in the infested area.

Ground treatments with Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), a naturally-occurring bacteria, and spinosad, an extract from naturally-occurring bacteria, may be utilized in heavily infested areas where moth larvae have been detected. The formulations of each product that would be used are approved for use on organic crops. No specific treatments with these products have been scheduled. This approach is intended to complement and not replace aerial pheromone treatments.

The USDA and CDFA are also evaluating another method - a male attractant treatment. This would start in the most densely infested areas and would consist of a ground treatment featuring pheromone mixed with a small amount of pesticide that would attract and then kill male apple moths. The mixture would be applied out of reach, at a height of approximately eight feet, on utility poles and trees. The pesticide that would be utilized is permethrin, a common household product that is used frequently for flea control on family pets.

While no specific treatment using this method has been scheduled yet, it may be used in the period when aerial pheromone products are being tested. Again, this approach is intended to complement and not replace aerial pheromone treatment.

Additionally, the two agencies may introduce Trichogramma wasps, which are tiny and stingless, to help with eradication. The wasps lay their eggs inside moth eggs. The wasp larvae hatch and eat the host egg from the inside. These wasps will not bother over-wintering monarch butterflies and they would not be released near threatened or endangered plants or butterflies and moths.

The first confirmation of the Light Brown Apple Moth in the Bay Area came in February 2007. Since then, many thousands have been detected throughout the central coast region, in the counties of Monterey, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, Alameda and Solano. Small, isolated infestations detected last year in Los Angeles and Napa counties have already been eradicated.

The Light Brown Apple Moth is native to Australia and is found in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Hawaii. The range of host plants is broad with more than two-thousand plant species known to be susceptible to attack by this pest. It threatens California’s environment—including cypress, redwood and oak trees—and the food supply. The pest destroys, stunts or deforms young seedlings; spoils the appearance of ornamental plants; and injures citrus, grapes, and deciduous fruit tree crops.



z Page 3 January 22, 2008

California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs Nancy Lungren, Deputy Secretary

1220 N St. Ste. 214 Sacramento, Ca 95814 916-654-0462

The California Department of Food and Agriculture protects and promotes California’s $31.8 billion agricultural industry. California’s farmers and ranchers produce a safe, secure supply of food, fiber and

shelter; marketed fairly for all Californians; and produced with responsible environmental stewardship.



• The Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM) feeds on more than 2,000 different types of na- tive and ornamental plants and trees including cypress, redwoods and oaks, and can at- tack more than 250 agricultural crops.

ο It threatens California’s natural environment and food systems and is currently infesting 9 counties.

ο In order to combat the LBAM, CDFA and USDA have developed a program that uses pheromones to disrupt the mating cycle, thus reducing the moth population and eventually eradicating the pest.

ο Pheromone use is one of the most environmentally responsible tools that can be used to eradicate invasive pests, particularly in urban regions and parks.


• The detection of the Light Brown Apple Moth was first confirmed by California Depart- ment of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in early 2007.

ο A statewide survey for the Light Brown Apple Moth, a foreign, invasive insect species, in 2005 showed no signs of the moth.

• Once the LBAM was detected in early 2007, the CDFA and USDA declared an emer- gency and took immediate action to prevent the pest from spreading throughout Califor- nia, United States, and North America. The LBAM eradication program goal is to eradi- cate this invasive insect pest.

ο Small populations of LBAM were eradicated from Los Angeles and Napa Coun- ties using ground application methods in 2007. Consequently, quarantines in those two counties were lifted.

ο LBAM continues to infest 9 other counties in California, remaining a serious problem and a threat to our environment, food systems, and quality of life.


• Health officials have established that the pheromone material (which is applied in a very dilute concentration) represents a very low risk of toxicity.

ο Prior to treatments, CDFA will work with local health officers to ensure that physicians and other health care providers are given information on the phero- mone products and reporting requirements for illness complaints.

ο While there is no human or animal health risk from exposure to the pheromones’

treatment, CDFA provides a hotline for citizens who may have questions about the program or wish to report an illness or complaint.

ο Citizens are encouraged to see their health care provider for illness complaints.


LBAM Program Fact Sheet 2


• In advance of an emergency pest treatment, CDFA will reach out to affected communi- ties to communicate the LBAM eradication plan by holding town hall community meet- ings, provide English/Spanish mail notices (first-class mail), and other languages as needed.

ο Additionally, CDFA will meet with reporters, editorial boards and radio shows, and we will encourage citizens to subscribe to the email notification service and utilize the hotline and website for current information.

ο We share information about the treatments in advance with local homeless shel- ters, farm worker organizations and other groups that have been brought to our attention by local officials.


• CDFA/USDA is continuing the LBAM program in 2008. Essential federal funding is expected this month.

• Based on CDFA/USDA experience in 2007, as well as the input received from a wide range of policy leaders, scientists and members of the public, CDFA/USDA will use several eradication methods depending on a number of factors including, the size of the infestation and proximity to bodies of water that are effective, environmentally responsi- ble and help to protect our life systems.

• The LBAM program is under constant review - both in house by CDFA/USDA and by third party world-renowned scientific experts known as the Technical Working Group.

The eradication techniques chosen for each infested area have been carefully considered by the Technical Working Group, in order to create the best program to eliminate the serious threat posed by LBAM.

ο For example, in the short-term CDFA/USDA are planning to use hand-applied twist ties containing pheromones to disrupt the LBAM mating cycle at locations with small LBAM populations. Ground applications of male moth attractants and bio-control methods will be used, as these tools become available.

ο Ground treatments with the pesticides Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), a naturally occurring bacteria, and spinosad, a material from naturally occurring bacteria, may be utilized in heavily infested areas where moth larvae have been detected.

• Further aerial pheromone treatments are planned for late spring or early summer starting in the southern end of the infested area and moving north. Four pheromone products are being evaluated in New Zealand to determine the best tool for aerial treatment.

• With the expected federal funding this month, CDFA and USDA will move forward with the LBAM eradication program for 2008. We will continue to focus our efforts to provide the public with the information needed to understand this program clearly, in- cluding open communication with public officials, the media and individual Califor- nians through meetings, mailings, hotlines, the CDFA web site, and other means.

• Eradication of LBAM from California will be a challenge. There are a number of com- plex variables and restraints on the eradication effort that involve science and technol- ogy, availability of the products, geography, timing, and necessary funding.

► For more information, go to www.cdfa.ca.gov


Potential Questions & Answers: 2008 Light Brown Apple Moth Program

Q: What are you doing differently than you were doing last time? And why?

A: With the advent of new tools, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) have developed treatment programs for three cate- gories of infestations and are ready to move forward and treat:

1. Physically small, isolated infestations with a few moths trapped,

2. Physically larger infestations with several contiguous square miles infested and more moths trapped

3. And the physically largest infestations covering many contiguous square miles and the greatest number of moths trapped.

This approach allows CDFA/USDA to operationally select a set of tools that will reach all the target LBAM life stages within each treatment area.

Q: Are you using the same substance as aerial spraying?

A: The active material is the same—LBAM pheromone. The carrier may be different based on tests being conducted in New Zealand. These products are being evaluated for efficacy, longevity and ease of applications.

Q: Why are you changing the treatment material now, does it mean last time it was not effective?

A: There are three additional pheromone formulated products now available that were not available last year. CDFA/USDA are evaluating them, along with last year’s formulation, to determine which is the best carrier to lengthen the interval between treatments. The active material in the aerial treat- ment is the same LBAM pheromone used in 2007.

Q: So is the new aerial product an insecticide/pesticide?

A: The new product will be a pesticide, but like last time, it does not kill the moth. The products under consideration for aerial treatment contain the same pheromone but use different bio-degradable carri- ers. Because the use of this product is intended to eliminate a population, the United States Environ- mental Protection Agency requires the product to be registered as a pesticide, however technically the product will not kill the LBAM. In contrast, CDFA/USDA uses the same product as lures in the traps, but because the intended use is to attract the moth to the trap, it does not, under these circum- stances, need to be registered as a pesticide.

Q: What happens if the federal funding does not come through?

A: Program operations would have to be modified.

Q: Is it important enough to take funding away from other state programs when our state is al- ready strapped, for example, education?

A: No different than previous years, the program must compete for funding.

Q: Why don’t you use ground application all the time?

A: Given the size of the treatment area, ground application is not logistically feasible in terms of biologi-

cal effectiveness in all situations. Ground application will be used in situations where CDFA/USDA

can get the material to the targeted moth life stage. This is not possible in the heaviest and physically

largest infestations where only aerial treatments of the pheromone will be biologically effective.



Q: People obviously don’t want this program, why do you continue to push it when we don’t see any of the negative effects?

A: One would not expect to see negative effects in the early stages of a new pest introduction. The bot- tom line is that the establishment of LBAM threatens the life systems of California and the United States. The goal of the program is to be proactive and eradicate the problem before it becomes too large to eradicate and extensive damage occurs.

Q: Where is the emergency and urgency to this?

A: If the insect is not eradicated while the infestation is still small, CDFA/USDA will be forced to deal with increased pesticide use, plant and environmental damage, and potentially, quarantines forever.

This insect will become a permanent unwanted resident in California and the rest of the United States.

Q: Can we see any visible damage?

A: Damage is hard to find, though some can be detected on foliage in the infested area. CDFA/USDA is being proactive to eradicate the pest before extensive damage occurs.

Q: Why are you coming back and spraying again?

A: The first aerial treatments were never expected to eradicate the LBAM from the state and eradication of the pest has not been completed. The mating disruption approach will not kill the moth as would be expected if CDFA/USDA would have used heavy pesticides. Since the aerial treatments do not kill the moth, it will take multiple treatments to gradually eradicate the pest.

Q: How long is the total eradication program?

A: The program will probably take at least 3-5 years. Remember, the program is based on mating dis- ruption using a pheromone. It will take longer to eradicate the moth by this means. A traditional pesticide might have been a quicker approach, but the environmental and public health concerns would have been much greater.

Q: How do you guarantee accurate application of the products when there have been mishaps be- fore?

A: Public safety is the primary concern. CDFA/USDA continually monitors each and every treatment to ensure that all program requirements are met. The airplanes are equipped with a GPS system to keep treatments on target. CDFA/USDA also deploy an environmental monitoring system to make sure the treatment only occurs during appropriate weather conditions and is effectively deliver within the treatment zone.

Q: Why are you looking to New Zealand to help solve the problem when it’s not eradicated there?

A: Researchers in New Zealand and Australia have the most expertise with dealing with the moth and they are developing the tools that CDFA/USDA will use here. The moth is native to Australia and it invaded New Zealand years ago. In both countries the moth is too widespread to eradicate and they now use pesticide sprays to live with it. CDFA/USDA wants to prevent this from happening here.

Q: How do twist ties and aerial treatments work?

A: The twist ties and aerial pheromone treatments disrupt the communication between the moths, pre- venting the males from finding females.

Q. How does male moth attractant technique work?

A: The male moth attractant technique will be applied at approximate 8 feet high on utility poles and

trees in the treatment area. The male moths are attracted to the spot where they crawl over a contact

insecticide and perish.



Q: How do the stingless wasps work?

A: The stingless Trichogramma wasps look for and lay their eggs in LBAM eggs. The wasp larvae hatch and eat the LBAM egg from the inside. These wasps will not bother the over-wintering mon- arch butterflies and they will not be released near threatened or endangered plants or butterflies and moths.

Q: What do you plan to do differently to communicate to the general public regarding health con- cerns, pets, property, etc?

A: We will continue to focus our efforts to provide the public with the information needed to understand this program clearly, including open communication with public officials, the media and individual Californians through meetings, mailings, hotlines, the CDFA web site, and other means.

Q: Should the public be concerned about their health and safety?

A: Public safety is our primary concern. Pheromones are extremely safe and if persons be- lieve they have experienced sickness as a result of the pending treatments, they are advised to see their doctor. In Santa Cruz and Monterey, only a small number of reports were filed with their County’s Public Health officer, and the other complaints have been duly logged and noted. Again, we have confidence that the pheromone is safe. That being said - state agencies (DPR, OEHHA) with jurisdiction for public health produced a Consensus Statement that evaluated the complaints and found “it is likely that exposure occurred at levels below those that would be expected to result in health effects.”

All the research shows the moth pheromone is non-toxic to plants, animals and insects. It does- n’t even hurt the moth. Any new products must meet rigorous standards for public health and safety. The pheromone materials CDFA/USDA use have been registered and approved for aerial treatment by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the state Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR). Before registration, all product uses must pass a rigorous safety re- view to protect human health, wildlife, and the environment. This pheromone and many others like it are present in our environment every day as many insects use them to attract mating partners or signal other behaviors. Humans and other mammals do not use these insect pheromones and cannot detect them.

Q: Does this new program pose any risks?

A: Public safety is the primary concern. Any new products must meet the same rigorous standards for public health and safety as the old product did.

White paper consensus statement on human health aspects of the aerial application of pheromones to combat the LBAM (Oct. 31, 2007, DPR/OEHHA/DPH): “While the toxicological information on the Checkmate product indicates that exposure to high levels of the applied material would be consistent with many of the reported symptoms, the application rate was extremely low, and it is likely that ex- posure occurred at levels below those that would be expected to result in health effects.”

Q: There were reports of illness even when you were using the “benign” program, what about now?

A: All health complaints are reviewed and monitored by the appropriate agencies to determine if there is

a risk to public health. If a resident believes they are ill, they should see their health care provider.



Q: If I don’t want applications applied to my property, how do I get out of it? Can the owner pre- vent application on private property?

A: No. In order to have a biologically sound program, CDFA/USDA cannot have a series of untreated refuges in which the moth can breed and re-infest treated areas, therefore the State of California can require access to private property in order to deal with a threat to the public.

Q: Isn’t bird die-off connected to the pheromone treatment?

A: No. The Department of Fish and Game investigated the die-off and stated “It turns out it’s not a fish oil or vegetable oil product, as well as not being a petroleum oil or the light brown apple moth spray.” The pheromone products CDFA/USDA uses are of very low toxicity to birds and wild life.

Q: We’ve heard that the increase in “Red Tide” algae growth in the Monterey Bay is attributed to the pheromone.

A: There is no evidence that the product caused these naturally occurring algal growths. Department of Fish and Game stated that “red tide” is a naturally occurring regular event.

Q: Do you plan to do water monitoring in 2008?

A: The CDFA Secretary’s Environmental Advisory Task Force recommended a pilot water monitoring study which the department will implement.

Q: Why should I/the public care about eradication of the moth? Go spray agriculture, not urban dwellers.

A: We all live in a life system. If we don’t fight the moth now, its population could explode with time resulting in increased pesticide load, not only in agriculture, but urban areas. CDFA/USDA knows this from past experience with pest infestations and the public’s use of unrestricted insecticides. Fur- ther, more insecticide use later will result in unhealthy residuals on fruits and vegetables that the con- sumer ultimately eats.

Q: How much money are we asking for in 2008?

A: $92 million in federal funds, with an additional $5 million coming from existing federal funds. If not

all the funds requested are granted, program operations would have to be modified.




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